Yin | Kidney + Liver Meridian Sequence

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Nancy Nelson

Hello yin friends!

I know this one has been a long time coming. I’ve had to really pump the breaks this fall to take good care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally. So I am grateful to feel re-energized and ready to share this with you all. The sequence you find below can also be accessed in video format following the theme of gratitude through my youtube channel. This video version is below! Of course, you can follow whatever intention and/or theme are appropriate for your life right now as you practice. I find that gratitude is not only very nourishing for the kidney and liver meridian line energy, but practicing thanksgiving often actually stimulates and helps awaken all the meridians in the body!

There is much to be said about the liver and kidney meridian lines in the energy body, but I will keep it simple. Here are some bits of information so that you can learn more about the energy stored in these lines and how it affects you physically and metaphysically! Click the images below to view larger.

What you’ll need for class:

  • Block(s) – 2 is ideal!
  • Bolster or large pillow
  • Blanket
  • Yoga strap or similar

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Seated butterfly w/zipper toes (3 min) – Come into a butterfly position. If it helps you, consider sitting to the edge of a blanket and placing two blocks under the outer legs/knees for support as we will be here for a few minutes. If possible, begin to “zip up” the toes by wrapping one on top of the other as pictured. This helps to stretch out the space between the toes that gets cramped up throughout the day. Both the kidney and liver meridian lines begin in the feet so it’s important we work on these little areas too! You can use a strap to secure your feet together if that assists you well.

Butterfly folded forward (5 min) – Un”zip” the toes and wiggle them out until they feel settled. Adjust your props how you’d like to have them for a forward bend and slowly begin to melt the chest and head forward, allowing the spine to round to stimulate the back body meridians along the spine. As the inner legs feel sensation, the kidney and liver meridian lines are stimulated and energy is able to flow more freely. Direct your breath into the spaces you feel this posture deeply – even if it’s a subtle depth at first!

Toe Squat (3 min) – Gently guide the inner legs together and choose to hug the thighs into the chest or drop the legs side to side in a windshield wiper motion for a few moments as you come back to a feeling of neutrality. Eventually, find a table top position and curl all 10 toes under (if possible). Slowly begin to walk the hands and hips back adding more weight onto the feet little by little. Once you find a good stopping point, don’t add on – pause, pay attention and breathe! You can always add more intensity or options to the pose as time goes on if and when it feels right for you. To add more sensation to this posture if you’re sitting all the way upright, inch the knees forward to deepen the angle in the feet – still keeping the toes curled under. Make sure you can breathe and find softness in the face wherever you land here.

Tadpole (3 min) – Walk the hands forward and uncurl the toes slowly. Pat the feet to the earth, roll out the ankles and do whatever feels nice to release the intensity of your toe squat. To counter this posture, we’ll come into tadpole (wide legged childs pose). Open the knees wide and bring the big toes in close toward one another with the toes uncurled. Drop the hips back to the heels as you melt your chest forward to the floor or a prop of your choosing. Allow the head to relax completely here. Arms can stretch forward, back, to the sides – wherever you prefer.

Sphinx / Seal (7 min) – From childs pose, make your way forward onto the belly or take a variation with the pelvis/upper thighs elevated to a bolster or blanket. Prop yourself up onto the forearms and walk the elbows forward and out until you land somewhere that feels stable for you. You can rest the head forward to the empty space between you and the floor or relax the forehead to a block. You can also prop a bolster behind the triceps/under the chest for additional support here. If you need more sensation, elevate the forearms to a blanket or bolster. Over time, if you wish to explore your seal pose – you can walk the hands out wider and gently peel the elbows off the floor finding a deeper amount of stress in the lumbar spine. This pose also stimulates the abdomen on the front body which is where our liver and kidney meridians travel to after the inner legs.

Tadpole or Frog (5-7 min) – Make your way off of the props and press back into your wide leg childs pose. Take a few breaths to feel the effects of the previous posture. You can stay in this posture as long as you’d like or over the next few moments, begin to set yourself up for frog pose by shifting forward to table top and widening the legs out until you feel a good amount of sensation in the inner legs and groin. Support yourself with props in any way that is right for you. I like taking a bolster under my chest and a blanket under my inner knees for comfort. You do what works for you, always. 

Half Butterfly / Saddle Wide Legged Fold (3 min each side) Slowly exit frog pose and come back into a seated neutral position on the heels, with the knees together. Take a few moments to allow your energy to settle and feel the sense of relief within you. From here, when ready, open out to the long edge of the mat in a V position with the legs and then choose to take either a half saddle/hero or half butterfly with one leg – if possible, do this and also maintain a wide leg position. Slowly turn the torso toward the extended leg and find a fold over the leg or to the inside of it. Utilize props as always to support you here. The spine can round and release, including the neck as you relax the weight of the head downward.

*Do both sides before moving onto the next posture.

Dragonfly / Wide Legged Fold (5 min) – After completing both sides of the previous pose, open both legs to straight and find a fold forward to the space in between the legs. Use your props in any way that will help you hang heavy into the tissues. Savor the sensations that arise, physically – mentally – emotionally. Be a part of your full experience here.

Cat Pulling its Tail (5 min each side) – Rise up slowly from your dragonfly pose and bring both legs to the top of the mat. Begin to recline on the right side body propped up by the right forearm. Draw the top legs knee forward toward the space in front of you and then slide the bottom leg behind you, with the option to bind with the foot (you can use a strap for this). Stay lifted for 2 minutes, allowing the right side body in the ribcage to sink toward the floor. You can eventually release the right arm and come down onto the back into a supine version of the twist. Feel free to experiment with how you use your props here. You can choose to extend the top leg as well if you wish. *Repeat posture on other side before moving on.

Savasana (10 min) – Unravel from your twist and make your way toward our final resting pose, savasana. Set yourself up so that you feel supported and relaxed in the posture. All resting positions are available – find the one that feels nice for you today.

Thymus Tapping + Trust Mudra OM – With ease, make your way back to a comfortable seat at the top of the mat. For two minutes, gently tap onto the sternum with your knuckles. This will stimulate the thymus gland which helps to keep your immune system aware of foreign objects and it is also associated with bringing a sense of awakening throughout the meridian system. The kidney lines both pass through this general region and will be specifically stimulated. After two minutes, bring the hands to an interlaced position, palms onto the chest for your trust mudra. Feel the sense of settling within you. Take a nice long om here if you would like. Sit with the vibration. 


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Nancy Nelson
Nancy Nelson
Nancy is the fearless leader here at Nancy Nelson Yoga! She has been instructing yoga since 2012 and is certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500, YACEP) with Yoga Alliance. She loves guiding yoga classes in all forms – from sweaty vinyasa flows, to slow mindful movement - but her favorite style to practice and teach is yin yoga. She attended a formal 50-hour Yin Yoga training with Bernie Clark and Diana Batts in the fall of 2018 and it truly propelled her into developing her yin focused website, webinars and trainings.

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